Be Impeccable with your Word

by Elisabeth

For our self-help book club, my friends and I are reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I’ve actually already read the book before but since the lessons were so profound I was excited when my girlfriend suggested it as our next book. This week we went through the first agreement:

Be impeccable with your word.

I’m proud to say that it’s become easier and easier to practise this agreement in terms of my self. When you are impeccable (as the book explains) you are without sin. So I agree to spread only positivity with my word. As Ruiz explains, your word is magic, and it can either be black magic or white magic. Beautiful. Profound. I’m learning to practise white magic on myself.

Where this is problematic (for me) is with other people. Like a family member who I’ve been trying hard to forgive. I have had a hard time accepting the state of our relationship. Today I got an infuriating email from him inviting me to his birthday. He wasn’t doing anything wrong per se- the damage was done long ago. But how do I practise this first agreement when he causes such a reaction in me? How can you be “impeccable” with your word when all you feel is anger and hurt? And should I go to his birthday party when this is what I feel? There’s a similar reaction when I see all of the election signs for Pauline Marois and the Parti Quebecois. I find her and the PQ infuriatingly racist.

Don Miguel Ruiz says that gossiping or spreading (black) magic essentially will only hurt myself. That’s what I learned about forgiveness. It’s more like letting go of poison that you are carrying. You need to forgive stupid people for doing the stupid things they do, in the same manner that you would like to be forgiven. I get this. But it’s not easy.

This week I’m going to try to practise being impeccable with my word. I’m going to try to be defiantly positive to myself and to others, which sounds kind of funny as I write it- I’m not in the best of moods. I do know the world could use a little positivity right now- as the polar vortex touches down yet again for another kick at the can. Anyway- what have I got to lose?